Tour of Fukuroi, Fuji, and Hakone

  • Day 1

    Hotel in Hukuroi

    Son-ei-ji Temple

    Hattasan,” or Son-ei-ji Temple, is a Shingon Buddhist temple of the Mount Koya sect; it was founded in 725.
    The principal object of worship is a statue of Aryavalokitesvara, which has long been held to confer blessings on people of all ages and walks of life.
    Furthermore, the site has lovely hydrangeas and greenery in early summer and bright foliage in autumn.
    The teahouse on-site serves famous sweet dumplings which are a seasonal exclusive and held to ward off evil. Admission is free of charge for the precincts.
    Address2777 Toyosawa, Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture
    Lunch in Hukuroi

    Kakegawa Castle

    In 1596, Yamauchi Kazutoyo commissioned the construction of Kakegawa Castle, and its exquisite appearance drew acclaim.
    Yamauchi undertook large-scale renovations to the castle and improvement of the castle town beneath it. In 1854, the Tokai Earthquake destroyed most of the castle keep and other parts of the structure. It remained in that state through the Meiji Restoration and in 1869 was formally decommissioned.

    Yet the enthusiasm of local residents drove a reconstruction of the building in 1994, some 140 years later, drawing on period documents. Today, the castle can be seen anew in its former glory.

    The Kakegawa Castle palace played three roles: hosting public ceremonies and meetings for the domain, serving as the lord’s private estate, and acting as a government office for the domain.
    There are only four such structures nationwide that date to the late Edo period and that once acted as castle-palaces. These include Nijo Castle in Kyoto. Like them, Kakegawa Castle is designated as an important cultural property.

    Employing a traditional style with seven buildings, the rooms are variously divided by function, and there are approximately 20 of them.
    On the east side of the lot are still-extant earthen walls which hint at days gone by.
    Address1138-24 Kakegawa, Kakegawa-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture


    Founded in 1401 by the Zen monk Jochu Tengin, Kasuisai is a preeminent temple in the Soto school of Zen. Kasuisai contains the shrine of the spirit of Akiba-Sanjakubo Daigongen and it is also known as a specialist temple at which many itinerant monks practice. It offers popular Zen experiences such as zazen (seated meditation), the copying of sutras, and vegetarian temple cuisine. It is nicknamed “the temple of peonies,” and visitors can enjoy its beautiful scenery from season to season at such events as the Dolls’ Festival, the Windchime Festival, and its autumn foliage light-up.
    Address2915-1 Kuno, Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture
    Hotel in Hukuroi
  • Day 2

    Hotel in Hukuroi
    Hukuroi Station
    Gotemba Station

    Mt. Fuji

    Mt. Fuji is Japan’s largest active volcano at 3,776 meters elevation and spanning the border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures.
    The mountain has long been an object of worship and also a source of inspiration for the arts, playing a pivotal role in the Japanese aesthetic and culture. For that reason, it was inscribed as a World Heritage in 2013.

    The mountain is open to hiking from early July to early September, with numerous climbers flocking to it.
    At the foothills of Mt. Fuji you will find many other World Heritage sites and lovely destinations.
    In the city of Fujinomiya, they have built the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Centre, Shizuoka, as a means of conveying the importance of Mt. Fuji to the next generation.
    The exhibit hall contains a helical slope that is 193 meters long and features footage of the hiking trail projected on its walls to add some visual interest. Ascending from the first to fifth floor is like taking a virtual hike up Mt. Fuji.
    AddressFujinomiya-shi, Susono-shi, Fuji-shi, Gotemba-shi, Oyama-cho, Sunto-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture Narusawa-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture
    Kawaguchiko Station

    Itchiku Kubota Museum of Art

    This museum, created by textile dyer Itchiuka Kubota (1917-2003), features the Itchikugahana Collection of kimono art pieces. Constructed in 1994, the museum has an unbeatable location looking out on the majesty of Mt. Fuji and the limpid waters of the lake, with exhibits largely focused on the subject of, first, the “Trinity” of man, nature, and art and, second, promoting new culture and the arts.

    In addition to Itchiku’s artwork, the museum also conveys the man’s worldview, from the garden, to the building, to the furniture and arrangements.
    Address2255 Kawaguchi, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture

    Fuji Asama Shrine

    This shrine dates to 1900, when Yamato Takeru traveled to the east and found Mt. Fuji to be a subject of worship for its sanctity. There, he built a small roadside shrine, which is said to be the origins of what later developed into this shrine.

    The shrine consecrates the goddess of Mt. Fuji, Konohana Sakuyahime no Mikoto, as well as Hikoho no Ninigi no Minokoto, and Oyamazumi no Kami.

    The Mt. Fuji environs are also home to a range of sites and destinations that collectively form a World Heritage Site. The main worship hall, east hall, and west hall are also designated as important cultural properties.
    Address5558 Kamiyoshida, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture

    Lake Kawaguchi Muse-kan

    This small museum is located in Yakigzaki Park, found at the foothills of Mt. Fuji on the south bank of Lake Yamaguchi.
    They maintain a permanent collection of 100 pieces of artwork by sculptor Yuki Atae.
    There are mesmerizing works like images of children in kimono and mystical sprites. The work has a delicate, rustic warmth.
    The attention to detail has led to these works being called “textile sculptures.”
    There is a cafe looking out on Lake Kagawuchi that serves as a great place to relax and unwind.
    Address923 Kodachi, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
    Hotel in Kawaguchiko
  • Day 3

    Hotel in Kawaguchiko
    Kawaguchiko Station
    Odawara Station
    Kawamuko bus stop

    Musée du Petit Prince de Saint-Exupéry a Hakone

    The Musée du Petit Prince was created as part of a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this work of literature by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The museum brings to life the worldview expressed through the book.

    The exhibits look back on the life of Saint-Exupéry and let you take in the majestic nature of Hakone while experiencing a french-style streetscape and European gardens.

    Built on June 29, 1999, this is the first museum based around the famous The Little Prince book. On June 29, 2019, it greets its 20th anniversary.
    Address909 Sengokuhara Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture

    Cedar trees (Hakone Shrine)

    There is a lovely view of cedar trees spanning from Moto-hakone to Hakone-machi and running along the Hakone Kyugaido and Lake Ashinoko.
    Today, there are 400 trees here, some numbering close to 300 years old.
    This signature sight of Hakone retains the old feel of the Tokaido route of yesteryear.
    AddressHakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture

    Hakone Checkpoint

    In the Edo period, there were 53-55 checkpoints installed along this route. In 1869, these were all decommissioned and the buildings demolished, but the Hakone checkpoint is the only one that was left standing. It was restored to bring the original shape, color, and appearance back to the present day.

    This is the only fully restored checkpoint in Japan where you can experience what it looked like in the Edo period. Feel yourself traveling through time into the Edo period...
    2019 will mark the 400th anniversary since the Hakone Checkpoint was installed at this location, so a range of events will be held.
    Address 1 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
    Odawara Station